Friday, September 29, 2006

007 x Lee National Denim Day Collabo

Pierce Brosnan is now the spokesman for Lee National Denim Day, which supports the early diagnosis and treatment research of cancer, particulary breast cancer and other women's cancer. On October 6th wear your favorite pair of jeans and donate $5 to the cause. Support the Woman's Cancer Program of EIF (Entertainment Industry Foundation) fight the good fight. Since the 6th is a Friday wearing jeans to work will be more acceptable in most work environments.

As we launch the second decade of Lee National Denim Day, we are excited to announce a new partnership with the Women's Cancer Programs of EIF. Lee National Denim Day will benefit local breast cancer prevention services, as well as groundbreaking early detection and treatment research at leading cancer centers nationwide. For more information about this exciting new partnership, click here.

Lee's long-winded spin (quit complaining; it's for a good cause):

As honorary chair of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), Pierce Brosnan, international movie star, producer, artist and activist, has added another title to his list ambassador for Lee National Denim Day. In this powerful new role, Brosnan will help bring more awareness to the fight against breast cancer and encourage people nationwide to participate in Denim Day.

In a new public service campaign that kicks off the second decade of Lee National Denim Day, Brosnan urges men and women across the country to don denim on October 6, while pledging a $5 donation to support innovative breast cancer research. The fundraising program has raised more than $61 million to support breast cancer programs, and this next decade brings a chance to do even more.

"I'm proud to join Lee Jeans and the Entertainment Industry Foundation in this tremendously important battle to eliminate breast cancer from all our lives," said Brosnan. "Lee National Denim Day is an easy way for friends and colleagues to unite in support of a groundbreaking scientific project to detect breast cancer in its earliest stage."

Proceeds from Lee National Denim Day will benefit the Women's Cancer Programs of EIF. Funds will be used to help accelerate treatment research and increase patient access to some of the most significant clinical trials in the nation, as well as continue to support grassroots programs across the country.

"Lee National Denim Day participants should be incredibly proud of what we have accomplished together the last ten years," said Liz Cahill, director of advertising and public relations for Lee Jeans. "We couldn't be more excited to launch the second decade of Denim Day with our new charitable partner EIF, with a commitment to fund some of the most important early detection and treatment research that exists, and with Mr. Brosnan’s help, we know people nationwide will be inspired to act."

Brosnan, who has lost dear friends to breast cancer, has been a longtime supporter of the cause and currently serves as Honorary Chairman of EIF. As the 2006 Lee National Denim Day ambassador, Brosnan will appear in a national public service campaign and program materials with the hope of raising awareness about breast cancer and the exciting new developments that can have an impact on the millions affected by the disease each year.

Last year, more than 29,000 companies across the nation participated in the single day fundraiser. More than $8.6 million was raised for the fight against breast cancer.

Lee Jeans is a division of VF Corporation. VF Corporation is a leader in branded apparel including jeanswear, outdoor products, intimate apparel, image apparel and sportswear.

The Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), as a leading charitable organization of the entertainment industry, has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars to support charitable initiatives addressing critical health, education and social issues.

EIF is committed to saving lives by raising awareness about the importance of early detection of breast and reproductive cancers, and providing funds to advance early detection and treatment research, as well as support to community programs that assist the millions of women and their families at risk of or affected by cancer.

Through EIF's National Women’s Cancer Research Alliance and EIF's Revlon Run/Walk For Women, EIF funds some of the most promising research being conducted today to develop new and more effective approaches to the treatment of women’s cancers. EIF grants have helped accelerate research that has contributed to the development of a breakthrough gene treatment called Herceptin, the first successful drug that seeks out a particular gene found in one of three cases of the most aggressive form of breast cancer. EIF grants have also supported other state-of-the-art therapies bringing new and innovative treatment approaches to breast cancer worldwide.

More recently, EIF launched its Women’s Cancer Research Fund. Focused on early detection of cancer, the initiative is supporting EIF's Breast Cancer Biomarker Discovery Project – an ambitious, groundbreaking scientific project where a group of internationally recognized scientists and clinicians from some of the best scientific institutions in the world are collaborating to develop a blood test that will detect breast cancer in its beginning stages, when survival rates are highest.

Lee National Denim Day is the largest single-day fundraiser for breast cancer. In October, Lee Jeans encourages millions of people nationwide to slip into their favorite jeans and make a $5 donation to support the fight against breast cancer.

Lee National Denim Day Website

True Fit True Jeans is another retailer that tries to ease the complications of finding a pair of jeans that fit perfectly. Business Week has posted a "day in the life" article of co-founder and CEO of True Apparel Company, Romney Evans.

Through a partnership with Montreal-based firm My Virtual Model, True Apparel customers will be able to go online, input their measurements, and have our software tell them which brands and styles of jeans best fit their unique body shape and measurements.

Business Week Article

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More Blue Holdings Retail

Paul Guez et al today announced their BLU retail store will bow tomorrow, September 28, in the Westfield San Francisco Centre. The 3600 sq. ft. floor space will sell Blue Holding's Taverniti So Jeans, Antik, and Yanuk. The brand Life & Death, which it recently acquired, will be available as well.

The new Westfield San Francisco Centre is a 1.5-million-square-foot, mixed-use venue that attracts over 25 million visitors annually. Westfield San Francisco Centre will be anchored by the nation's second largest Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom.

Yes, Nordstrom and Bloomy's do carry some of Blue Holding's brands.

"The new San Francisco Westfield Centre is one of the largest shopping destinations in the United States, and a great location to showcase our beautiful collections. This is a true shopping Mecca," said Paul Guez, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Blue Holdings, Inc. "Our collection and assortment of brands has grown significantly over the past year and our product line now includes denim, corduroy, velvet, cotton bottoms and jackets and a variety of unique styles in knitwear, fleece sweat suits, vests and t-shirts, as well as lines for children. We are pleased to be further increasing our brand awareness with the opening of our retail store BLU, and our stylish, high-fashion concepts position us well for our continued growth ahead."

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

New Guess Facility

Hot off the press:

Guess?, Inc. (NYSE: GES) announced today that it has entered into a five-year $85 million secured multinational revolving credit facility with Bank of America. This new facility replaces the Company's existing asset-based facility with a group led by Wachovia Securities, Inc., which had an initial term through September 27, 2006.

Commenting on the announcement, Carlos Alberini, President and Chief Operating Officer, stated, "During this process, we have developed a strong relationship with Bank of America. We are very pleased with the terms of the new facility. The arrangement is less costly than the previous credit facility and includes more favorable terms, which capitalizes on the strong financial performance that the Company has delivered over the past few years."

Mr. Alberini continued, "This facility, along with the Company's operating cash flows and strong cash position are expected to provide ample liquidity and financial flexibility to meet the Company's planned operating and strategic needs."

At the time of closing, there were no borrowings due under the old credit facility other than as a result of normal trade letter of credit obligations. The Company did not draw on the new facility at closing.

This news is timed to Bank of America's 36th Annual Investment Conference tomorrow, September 21, 2006 at 9:30 a.m. PT.

Guess Press Release

Friday, September 15, 2006

Guess Who's at the BOA Investment Conference

Guess?, Inc. (NYSE: GES) announced today that the Company will be presenting at Bank of America's 36th Annual Investment Conference on Thursday, September 21, 2006 at 9:30 a.m. The Company will be represented at the conference by Carlos Alberini, President and Chief Operating Officer and Dennis R. Secor, SVP & Chief Financial Officer.

The presentation will also be available via live webcast. Interested parties can access the event at via the "Investor's Info" link from the "Guess, Inc." section of the site. The webcast will be available for 30 days following the conference.

The Investment Conference is all about "connect[ing] issuing companies and institutional investors in more valuable ways than ever before. This includes brief formal presentations by senior leaders of over 200 individually selected companies, followed by interactive question-and-answer sessions and smaller breakout groups; more than 2,000 one-on-one meetings arranged by our staff; and keynote speakers, panels and workshops that are highly relevant and insightful."

Guess Press Release

Blue: Sea of Jeans

After the frenzy of Fashion Week I would like to remind everyone to mark their calendars and attend one of the best trade shows to see, buy, and breathe denim.

In July we witnessed Blue, the NYC trade show dedicated to premium denim and contemporary fashion. Given the massive amount of denim showcased there I've decided it may be a good idea to give those who missed it the scoop. First, a backgrounder: Blue is the successful project of ENK, the team that brings us shows like the Collective, Coterie, and Accessorie Circuit. Held in what was once a train tunnel, this compact format allows designers to showcase their work, particularly in denim, in a relaxed atmosphere that buyers can appreciate. The experience is much like shopping at one giant boutique, complete with shop assistants to explain the almost 100 brands available. Since lounging with a mug of beer is standard at these places I apologize in advance for any blurry pictures.

Speaking of working drunk I would like to take this time to question the sobriety of the Levi's personnel responsible for this madness: $110 selvedge jeans. For toddlers. Dimensions: 1.5 x 1'. Pick 'em up while you can at the Levi's Store on Broadway in NYC's SoHo.

But speaking of selvedge fever let's get back to Blue.

If this cutting edge tradeshow is any indication of where premium denim is headed then it's clear that designers will be trying to turn selvedge into the next fashion trend. Eventually even brands with little understanding of and reason to use selvedge denim fabric will be cuffing and turning inside out their jeans to flash the goods. All this in hopes of exploiting a characteristic of vintage-style denim commonly mistaken to be a fool-proof indicator of quality. If you need a quick primer on selvage here is Wikipedia's take.

Here's a quick walk-through.

If you're addicted to selvedge denim then Blue Star can provide the overdose. We're talking about a company whose entire value proposition (so far) is based on the fact that the jeans are "Handcrafted with genuine Cone Mills White Oak Selvage Denim."

Tired of just having the outseam selvedge? How would you like it on the coin pocket and back patch? The nifty hidden inside pocket gets it too.

Jackets get it too.

Agave Goldenstate went as far as flipping their jeans inside out, which would be silly if it was just to show you the selvage line. Hence the printed pocketing.

And their whole life story.

The look actually grew on me and I began to think I would rock it inside out. Indoors. Just to flash that selvage.

But I was quickly captivated by some non-selvage wares from the good folks at Denim Design Lab. They showed some unique t-shirts that showcase one-of-a-kind art done on denim.

And who can forget Marc Jacobs for Wrangler?

There were many more jeans repeating this same theme but you get the idea.

And despite the fun-poking Blue is amazingly informative, useful, and great for networking.

Bottom line: go to the next Blue show running January 21-23, 2007. My prediction is the selvage fever will be as widespread as ever. See you there.

ENK Shows

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Levi's Swagger

First there was LVC (Levi's Vintage Clothing). Then came Capital E and the various Levi's skinny jeans commercials. Looks like the company is really trying to regain a bit of the market share lost to more fashion-oriented brands. Now it has teamed up with Japanese label Swagger to bring us these Swagger x Levi’s 503 jeans. While I'm not crazy about the wash it's certainly not the worst we've seen and the denim seems to be very nice. This special edition 503 will also be available in one-wash. You can pick it up in the Swagger stores on September 16.

Story via Hypebeast.

Swagger Website

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Lee's New President

VF Corp. just announced that Joseph Dzialo will be the new president of the Lee brand. Dzialo's previous experience includes general manager of The Timberland Co.'s U.S. sales. He's also worked at Nine West Group, U.S. Shoe Corporation, Procter & Gamble and LCA-Vision. He will be succeeding Gordon Harton who retired in April after 35 years with VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC)

Straight from the horse's mouth:

As President of Lee Jeans, Dzialo will have responsibility for the continued revitalization of the Lee(R) Jeans brand in the U.S. and will report to Angelo LaGrega, President of VF's Jeanswear-Americas Coalition. Dzialo will join the company September 25 and will be based in Merriam, Kansas.

"We are extremely excited about Joe joining the Lee team and VF," LaGrega said. "Joe has 30 years of strategic development and brand building experience. His outstanding leadership qualities make him a great addition to our strong Lee management team."

From 2003 to 2005, Dzialo had responsibility for The Timberland Company's U.S. footwear and apparel business. From 1999 to 2003, he held a series of executive positions, including President and Chief Operating Officer, with LCA-Vision, a laser vision correction center business in Cincinnati, Ohio. From 1991 to 1998, Dzialo served as President of the Easy Spirit Wholesale Footwear Division, first for U.S. Shoe Corporation and later for Nine West Group. Under his leadership, Easy Spirit grew to become the top brand of women's shoes sold in department stores in the U.S. From 1988 to 1990, he served as Marketing Director for U.S. Shoe's LensCrafters Division. He also held a series of brand management positions with Procter & Gamble Company from 1976 to 1988.

"With the recent launch of new, consumer-validated products backed by our new brand campaign, 'Get what fits,' this is an exciting time to be joining Lee, an iconic, global brand with a very strong management team and great culture," Dzialo said.

Dzialo received a bachelor's of science degree in engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass., and an M.B.A. in marketing from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Lee is a division of VF Corp. whose portfolio of brands include Wrangler, Riders, Rustler, Vanity Fair, Vassarette, Bestform, Lily of France, Nautica, Earl Jean, John Varvatos, JanSport, Eastpak, The North Face, Vans, Napapijri, Kipling, Lee Sport, and Red Kap brands.

VF Corp. News Release

Friday, September 08, 2006

According to the Nashville Business Journal:

Copley Instruments has signed a licensing agreement to make a signature line of Wrangler custom guitars. "So many entertainers wear Wrangler jeans that it was just a perfect fit for us to create these special guitars," says Copley founder Babs Simmons. The Copley Wrangler line will feature six models.

Copley Instruments, based in Nashville, was formed in 2000 by Simmons, Scott Jergensmeyer and John Copley. Wrangler Specialty Apparel is part of VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC), which also owns the Lee, Rustler, Nautica, and Eastpak.

Brian Robbins over at the Denim Design Lab just dropped a line to update us on his latest endeavors. Check out theses Levi's shrink-to-fit raw jeans he and his team distressed using their finishing kits.

You can see more here.

For those who want/need more authentic fading the Denim Design Lab raw jeans are launching in Fall '07 "but plan on trickling some into Atrium" and other stores, according to Robbins. Selvage models will retail approximately $100-200.

Denim Design Lab Website
BLUE Won't Fade

Which denim company should you invest in? A Strategy Session video from interviews James Perkins, founding partner and portfolio manager for Thrasher Funds. He is bullish on Blue Holdings (NASDAQ: BLUE). He pushes this company to his clients noting that BLUE is well-diversified after acquiring Long Rap, Inc.

Long Rap is the operator of the Up Against the Wall chain, which has 24 retail stores pushing brands like LRG, Coogi, Antik Denim, True Religion, Seven for all Mankind and Taverniti So Jeans. Note that BLUE owns the Antik and Taverniti So brands.

Perkins cites a strong denim demand due to jeans being a "trouser for all seasons" and as the pants of choice for many dining out. Denim's increasing versatility is resulting in higher jeans demand and prices. Video

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Woman of the Crowd

Just as the rest of the world is gearing up for New York Fashion Week I dropped by Susan Cianciolo's gallery show to say hello. She presents a multi-media exhibit called "The Woman of the Crowd" in collaboration with Cone Denim that showcases work related to denim. There was quite a crowd at the opening but I finally spotted the woman of the hour busy playing host.

Fashion designer and artist Susan Cianciolo:

According to Cone "the collectible pieces highlight Cone Denim's special White Oak Collection including authentic selvage designs, pima denims, organic fabrics along with remnant swatches from Cone Denim's Found archival collection."

There are not many other places where you can hear Cone executives claim that "Cone invented selvage."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

TRLG to Present at ThinkEquity Growth Con

Further fueling talks of True Religion (NASDAQ: TRLG) going private in the near future is news that "Charles Lesser, chief financial officer, will present a company overview at the ThinkEquity Partners 4th Annual Growth Conference at 9:00 a.m. PT on Wednesday, September 13th, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in San Francisco."

Go to the True Religion website to view the live/archived webcast.

Check out ThinkEquity's page on the conference for more clues on what's going on.

Sex in Jeans

Here's a bit about sex in jeans advertising from James Sullivan's Jeans: A Cultural History of an American Icon:

"I think it's disgusting," said Dick Gilbert, president of Zena Jeans. "It's getting to be who has the most lascivious commercial." (By 1986, one Zena print ad would feature a model with an exposed nipple.)

Paul Guez, cofounder of Sasson, joined the chorus: "You have to be desperate to do this-put sex into jeans commercials," he said.

"I like sex," [Calvin] Klein responded in the press, nonplussed. "What's bad about sex?"

Mr. Guez has since become founder, CEO and Chairman of Blue Holdings, parent of sexy brands like Taverniti So, Antik Denim and Yanuk . If Mr. Guez still stands behind his words from once-upon-a-time then we should note all those hot Antik Denim models have nothing to do with sex appeal. And their breast-exposing runway models? Well fashion shows do tend to get really hot...

A look back at some of Antik and Yanuk fashion shows and marketing follows.

Swift Galey and DNA Joint Venture

Missed this bit of news over Labor Day weekend: "Swift Galey and Denim North America are announcing a new joint venture in Columbus, Georgia. This venture, to be known as Swift Galey D.N.A., will become Swift Galey's U.S. flagship denim operation, manufacturing and distributing premium denim fabrics under the Swift Galey brand."

The rest of the release:

Denim North America operates the most modern denim facility in the United States, just a few miles from the current Swift Galey denim facility in Columbus, Georgia.

Swift Galey believes that the North American premium denim market can be best served by a right-sized, flexible facility that is part of an international network of modern facilities.

"Swift Galey is fortunate to have found an excellent business partner already operating a facility in such close proximity. By combining technological strengths and creative resources, a powerful and stable platform will be created, serving the needs of the premium denim market for years to come," according to John Heldrich, President and CEO of Swift Galey.

Over the next few months, the current Swift Galey denim facility operating in Columbus will be closed, and the products, key resources, and state-of-the-art equipment will be transferred to the new Swift Galey D.N.A. venture location. The complete 2007 product line is expected to be assimilated early in the fourth quarter.

Larry Galbraith will serve as President of the joint venture. Monte Galbraith will join Swift Galey as Managing Director of the Jeanswear Division, reporting to Rick Waide, President of International Marketing and Jeanswear.

With representation worldwide in the U.S.A., Mexico, Europe, Central and South America, and throughout Asia, Swift Galey fabrics are featured in jeanswear, sportswear, uniform/workwear, and home markets.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the company is privately owned by funds managed by New York and Charlotte, North Carolina based Patriarch Partners, LLC.

Swift Galey
Denim North America